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"Scuba-Adjacent" Ecotourism and Adventure Travel

Discussion in 'General Travel and Vacation Discussions' started by Shafqat Ahmed, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Shafqat Ahmed

    Shafqat Ahmed Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: San Francisco
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    Hi!

    I know there's lot of different types of divers, but I imagine there's some correlation between people who are avid divers and people who seek out off-the-beaten-path ecotourism or adventure travel.

    I got hooked on diving after someone casually suggested "Discover Scuba Diving" as a one time experience. A lot of the coolest experiences in my life have been a result of casual suggestions - things I would never have thought or known about otherwise. And they've often been tagged onto the end of dive-friendly vacations :)

    I'd really love to hear about other cool experiences people recommend pairing with scuba diving trips.* Anything other than "relaxing on the beach" would be of interest to me. Thanks!

    *Edit: Actually, happy to hear even if it doesn't pair well with diving.

    Here's 3 of the coolest experiences I've ever had:

    1) Ecolodge in the Amazon rainforest - stayed in a government sanctioned ecolodge in the Amazon for 3 days
    2) Safari in the Serengeti - stayed in a tent camp for 3 days during migration season
    3) Private Island rental in Indonesia - stayed on a completely isolated tiny island for 3 days
     
  2. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    We have done a lot of backcountry hiking/camping, climbing, canyoneering and canoeing/river travel and none of these seem to pair well with scuba diving. We do a bit of hiking when we travel to dive but we have world class hiking where we live, so it always seems a shame to use valuable diving time to do something we can do every day. Having said that I would be interested to hear other people's experiences
     
  3. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
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    2,525
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    +1 @dlofting

    As this is ScubaBoard, contrary to the OP’s swerve away from making bubbles....

    Consider disabusing yourself of the lyrical phrase “ecotourism” while combining the needs of human living of any standard higher than what Naked and Afraid purports.

    You’re right, divers are a different breed, we demonstrably (through research) like uncertainty, unknown, and edgy experiences (PADI research paper circa 1985).

    In the 70’s I was quite taken by and immersed in a trip to dive Chichenitza, but now in retrospect, after the images of pack mules carrying our tanks fades, my perception is different. I hear there’s a hotel there now to service the tour busses. Now you just buy a package tour, but there is never a reference to dive ops (a lotta reasons).

    What’s the real environmental cost of eco-tourism? Not to be a Debby Downer...you brought it up! Start with the extensive costs of aviation, end with disposing of your poop and power bar wrappers. Lots in between. An idyllic natural environment is illusory, no less than Adventure Island at Wallyword.

    You can throw buckets of money at holy grail dive trips, and by that, I’m referencing destinations far beyond Cayman, Red Sea, Maldives, Galapagos, Raja Ampat, But hey, everybody’s done that already.

    I’m thinking the bar for “adventure travel” 2019 includes a minimum of WiFi so it can be Facebooked in real time. That and hot water showers.

    You can follow a seldom (as of yet) trodden path, but understand that you’re leaving footsteps. Is it a bad thing to be one of the first divers to make that difficult trip? No, not at all, just get that eco tourism out of your head...you’re now fully in the category of “preliminary plunderer”.

    The infrastructure of diving is simply contradictory to preserving ecology.

    Pick your adventure, but truly understand what path you are following.
     
    Wingy likes this.
  4. potato cod

    potato cod ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rust Belt
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    Well, definitions of ecotourism don't mean NO impact or development, but rather lower impact than conventional travel, that helps to safeguard the integrity of the ecosystem and produce benefits for the local communities. I've actually been thinking a bit about this because I am heading to a lodge in the Amazon rainforest for several days, and also a few in the Andean cloud forest next week. These are all 100% owned and operated by the local communities and do help to finance protected areas and make wildlife valuable (hence ensuring protection, not unlike arguments for protecting reefs, sharks, etc), as well as providing environmental education. Sure, it can be poorly done with a high volume of tourists that can damage the environment or funds that mainly go to large corporations, so it isn't perfect. If you want to do ecotourism, it is important to look into the details. But I don't think the term itself is meaningless or problematic. It's also adventure tourism, but not all adventure tourism qualifies as ecotourism.

    Anyway, back to the OP's theme, this is an add-on to a work trip, not a diving trip. Usually when we get away to dive, that is the main focus of the trip and we don't leave time for too much else. Probably the big exception to this has been our trips to Australia because after the epic flight, we tend to stay longer. Here, my favorite add-ons have included flying to Darwin and renting little camper vans and spending time exploring parks in North Australia: Litchfield, Kakadu, etc. Near to diving, Kuranda outside of Cairns is a great day trip with lots of rainforest and pretty birds.

    I'd also love to hear what others have done to combine diving with other adventures.
     
    Wingy and Doc like this.
  5. Shafqat Ahmed

    Shafqat Ahmed Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: San Francisco
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    @Doc looks like I misused the word ecotourism, it definitely wasn't the point of my post. I'm just seeking to learn more about exotic nature and adventure focussed experiences.

    @potato cod please let me know how you like the Amazon vs Andean cloud forest! I might check out the latter if you recommend it!
     
    potato cod likes this.
  6. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
    2,395
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    What Doc said :wink:

    I guess I take a somewhat pragmatic approach to Eco anything. Everything I do in my time on this planet will leave a footprint. I do the recycling, carbon offsets, local development program things too. I support environmental awareness and conservation initiatives and do look for 'Environmentally .... " mentions on a place I'm looking at staying at. I even do it on LOBs...I guess a few baffled owners have wondered why an old lady wants to know what engines they are using and R/O plants etc. All have been happy to show me and talk about sustainability of LOB diving boats. I'd also like to know where you got the wood you used to make the phinisi thanks. Same thing on land - memorable moments -

    Madagascar - Anjiamarango Eco Resort on Bafoataka Bay built by Phillipe the frenchmans malagasy wife's family and village who are all staff members and great people. Because it was cyclone season my dive buddy and I had an entire very beautiful resort to ourselves. Sitting in the infinity pool watching the sunset and cheering on Zeebs the Zebu who we had spent a week being broken to harness. Chameleons and Lemurs wandering around.

    Vanuatu - climbing Mt Yasur, seeing the shockwave as another bombie was ejected high above the volcano then inviting every other person to have a party in my tree house on the flanks of the volcano, ignoring how old I am to wake up climb it again and watch the sunrise through the lava eruptions before diving the blue holes of Tanna. Everyone decamped to the coast to stay with local pastor Tom in his bungalows where I stay. Inspiring a Chinese girl I still keep in contact with travelling solo to begin the path to becoming a diver after she yelled "Scuba Diver! Scuba Diver! I want to be like you" - which bit, the crawling over rocks to get out, the messy hair or the runny nose?

    Bangka Island in Indo before the days of wifi and refurbishments and aircon and communications. Getting dropped on the beach at the mainland by a driver who spoke no English but adopted by a huge family having a bbq who all took pictures of me, insisted I eat, told me the boat WOULD eventually come and the lady who wanted my nose. Because it was big, and beautiful and had a bump to stop eye classes falling off :)

    Definitely a correlation - I think men paddling up to you in a canoe waving guns adds to the verve of a trip as does swimming ashore in PNG with a local encountering bioluminescence while trying to sneak off unnoticed at 2am and walking through the pitch black jungle for an hour to get some more betel nuts. No one was any wiser the next morning but my teeth were really red.
     
    Doc and potato cod like this.

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